List of pastoral visits of Pope Francis outside Italy

Pastoral visits of Pope Francis.

This is a list of pastoral visits of Pope Francis outside Italy. Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines in January 2015 had become the largest papal event in history with around 6–7 million attendees in his final mass at Manila, surpassing the then-largest papal event at World Youth Day 1995 in the same venue 20 years earlier.


 Brazil (22 to 29 July 2013)

Main article: World Youth Day 2013
Pope Francis visits a favela in Brazil during the World Youth Day 2013.

Francis visited Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day. This was the only scheduled foreign trip for him in the year. Francis was officially welcomed to Brazil during a ceremony at Guanabara palace and met with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.[1] Throughout the celebrations, Francis gathered up to 3.5 million pilgrims to celebrate mass at Copacabana Beach.[2] During his vigil address, Francis urged the pilgrims not to be "part-time Christians", but to lead full, meaningful lives.[3] The trip was previously scheduled for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, before his resignation.[4]


 Israel,  Jordan, and  Palestine (24 to 26 May 2014)

Pope Francis waving for the people after the mass in Bethlehem. (By/ Mustafa Bader)

Francis visited Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem during his three-day trip to the region from 24 to 26 May. The trip was announced during the Sunday Angelus on 5 January 2014.[5][6] Francis arrived in Jordan on 24 May and after meeting with King Abdullah II, celebrated mass at Amman International Stadium.[7] During his trip, Francis prayed at the Israeli West Bank barrier and also visited the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[8] Francis concluded his tour by meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I to continue inter-faith dialogue with the Orthodox Church.[9]

 South Korea (14 to 18 August 2014)

Pope Francis travels through Gwangwhamun Square during the beatification ceremony.

Pope Francis arrived in Seoul Air Base on 14 August to start his five-day visit to South Korea on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day.[10] Upon arrival, Francis was greeted by South Korean President Park Geun-hye.[11] Afterwards, Francis held a private meeting with the families of victims of the MV Sewol ferry disaster.[12] He later made a speech in English, his first as Pope. Speaking at the Presidential Office in Seoul he said "I came here thinking of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula." [13] Francis held the first public mass of his trip on 15 August in front of a 50,000 strong crowd at Daejeon World Cup Stadium where he asked Koreans to "reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers."[14] He beatified the first generation of 124 Korean Martyrs in Gwangwhamun Square on front of an estimated crowd of 800,000 people on 16 August.[15] Francis concluded his five-day visit with a Mass for peace and reconciliation of the divided Korean peninsula in Seoul's Myeongdong Cathedral.[16]

 Albania (21 September 2014)

Pope Francis announced in his Angelus address on 15 June 2014 that he would make a one-day visit to the city of Tirana in Albania. He said: "With this brief visit, I want to confirm the Church of Albania in the faith, and bear witness to my encouragement and love for a country that has suffered for so long in consequence of the ideologies of the past".[17] Security concerns were raised in the days before the visit after Iraqi governmental officials warned they had received intelligence reports suggesting Islamic fundamentalists may be planning an attempt on the Pope's life while in Albania.[18]

The 11-hour visit was the first European trip made by Francis. He said in August that he had chosen Albania as the first destination because it has set a model for harmony between the various religions by establishing a national unity government that includes Muslims, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians.

During his stay, he met Albanian President Bujar Nishani, celebrated mass in Mother Teresa square in Tirana, and met with religious leaders, including those of the Muslim, Orthodox, Bektashi, Jewish and Protestant faiths. He also honored those persecuted under the rule of former communist dictator Enver Hoxha. Some 130 Christian clergy died in detention or were executed during the 1944-1985 dictatorship of Hoxha, who declared Albania the world's first atheist state in 1967. Pictures of some of the priests persecuted or executed during the period were hung in Tirana's main Martyrs of the Nation boulevard ahead of the pope's visit. Albania has since seen a revival of Catholicism partly owing to the popularity of Mother Teresa, who had Albanian origins despite being born in what is now Macedonia.[19]

 France (25 November 2014)

Francis making his address to the European Parliament.

Pope Francis made a four-hour visit, the shortest made by any Pope abroad, to Strasbourg on 25 November 2014, where he addressed the European Parliament and the Council of Europe raising issues such as the dignified treatment of immigrants arriving illegally in Europe and better conditions for workers.[20]

 Turkey (28 to 30 November 2014)

Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Turkey at the behest of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in September 2014. This invitation also came from Patriarch Bartholomew I in order to commemorate the feast day of Saint Andrew.[21] Francis arrived at Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara on 28 November where he was met by Turkish dignitaries before he traveled to Anıtkabir, laying a wreath in memory of the Turkish republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.[22] Francis then traveled to the Presidential Palace where he met with President Erdoğan and gave a speech urging interfaith dialogue to counter fanaticism and fundamentalism and called for a renewed Middle-East peace push, saying the region had "for too long been a theatre of fratricidal wars".[23] The following day, Francis visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul where he prayed silently alongside senior Islamic clerics.[24] Francis concluded his visit with a liturgy in the Church of St. George alongside Bartholomew I, asking for his blessing "for me and the Church of Rome" and also urging the re-unification between the two Churches, telling the Orthodox faithful gathered in St George's that "I want to assure each one of you gathered here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith".[25]


 Sri Lanka and  Philippines (13 to 19 January 2015)

Pope Francis in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 14 January 2015
Pope Francis rides around the faithful after the open air Mass in Tacloban. 17 January 2015

Pope Francis visited Sri Lanka on 13–15 January and the Philippines (15–19) in January.[26][27][28]

In Sri Lanka he paid pastoral visits to Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu in Madhu and Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka.[29]

Pope Francis' visit to Philippines was the fourth papal visit to the island nation. Blessed Paul VI visited Philippines in 1970 and St. John Paul II came in 1981 for the beatifications of then Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz and then Blessed Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia and returned in 1995 for the celebration of the World Youth Day.

Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines in January 2015 had become the largest papal event in history with around 6-7 million attended his final mass at Manila surpassing the then largest papal event at World Youth Day 1995 in the same venue 20 years earlier.[30][31][32]

 Bosnia and Herzegovina (6 June 2015)

Pope Francis arriving at Koševo Stadium in Sarajevo

Pope Francis announced on 1 February 2015 that he intended to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 6 June 2015. His visit placed importance on ecumenical dialogue. It is estimated that 67.000 people visited the event whose height was the mass at Koshevo stadion. Most pilgrims were from Croatia and Bosnia but there were also 1000 pilgrims from Serbia, many groups from Hungary, Slovenia, Macedonia, communities of Croats from Germany, Austria, United States, and group of nuns from Panama and even Egypt.[33]

 Bolivia,  Ecuador, and  Paraguay (5 to 13 July 2015)

Pope Francis in Paraguay.

It was announced by the Holy See in May 2015 that Pope Francis would visit Bolivia in July 2015, as well as two other South American countries, Ecuador and Paraguay. Prior to the visit, Bolivian President Evo Morales had confirmed that Pope Francis would meet with indigenous organizations on the sidelines of official functions.[34][35] The schedule released indicated that the pope would be in Ecuador from 5–8 July, Bolivia from 8–10 July and Paraguay from 10–12 July 2015. His return to Rome is scheduled for 13 July 2015.[36][37] The Holy See Press Office's Director, Federico Lombardi, S.J., acknowledged there were reports that Pope Francis might chew coca leaves, or perhaps drink tea made from coca (he ended up drinking coca tea with a couple other ingredients), which in that region is considered sacred by some and is a key crop (it is rich in calcium, protein, and iron, among other nutrients, and could potentially fight altitude sickness- a popular reason for its use, but it is also the main ingredient in cocaine), during the trip, but he stated nothing had been decided yet. Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI both had similar experiences, so engaging in this particular cultural custom would not be unprecedented.[38]

In the course of his visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis met President Rafael Correa, visited with priests and seminarians, paid a private visit to a Jesuit priest friend and visited a home for the elderly in Quito. His last Mass in Ecuador drew about 1.5 million people.[39] Arriving in Bolivia on 8 July, Pope Francis was received by President Evo Morales at El Alto International Airport near La Paz. In his speech after arrival the pope said among other: "Bolivia is making important steps towards including broad sectors in the country’s economic, social and political life. Your constitution recognizes the rights of individuals, minorities and the natural environment, and provides for institutions to promote them." Later during the meeting in Government palace Morales awarded Pope Francis with the highest Bolivian state decoration, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Condor of the Andes and with the State decoration of Luis Espinal Camps, named after a Jesuit priest and activist known for his commitment to the disadvantaged people of the country, who was murdered by paramilitary forces in March 1980 for his defense of them. He also presented the pope with a crucifix in form of a hammer and sickle, which form the symbol of the Communist Party, which he explained had been a form created by Espinal himself in his efforts to identify with the oppressed poor of that country. This gift immediately proved controversial.[40] The pope also prayed in the place near La Paz where the body of this murdered Jesuit priest was found and by this occasion he highlighted his preaching of the Gospel. Pope Francis visited also the Cathedral of La Paz and after leaving La Paz he traveled to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in the eastern part of Bolivia.[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48] On 9 July Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Santa Cruz de la Sierra connected with the opening of the Fifth National Eucharistic Congress.[49] He also attended the World Meeting of Popular Movements, taking place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. This event brought together delegates from popular movements from around the world and there also participated President of Bolivia Evo Morales. Pope Francis expressed in his speech on this event his solidarity with gathered popular movements and their efforts.[50][51]

 Cuba and  United States (19 to 27 September 2015)

Pope Francis addresses the U.S. Congress.

On 19 September 2015 Pope Francis departed aboard an Alitalia A330 (Shepherd One) from Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, to Havana's José Martí International Airport where he arrived to an official Welcoming Ceremony. The next day, he was the principal celebrant at a Papal Mass at the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana at 9:00, before he paid a courtesy visit to the President of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers of the Republic at Palacio de la Revolución in Havana. His day ended with celebrations of Vespers with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians, at the Cathedral of Havana, and a greeting to the young people of the "Centro Cultural Padre Félix Varela" in Havana during the early evening.[52]

On 21 September, he departed by plane from Havana for Holguín, to preside at a Papal Mass at Plaza de la Revolución. Before departing for Santiago de Cuba, he gave a blessing to the city, from Loma de la Cruz, in Holguín. Having arrived in Santiago, he met with the Bishops of Cuba at St Basil the Great Seminary, and say a prayer to the Virgen de la Caridad, with the Bishops and the Papal Entourage, at the Minor Basilica of the Shrine "Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre" in Santiago.

On 22 September, he celebrated a Papal Mass at the Minor Basilica of the Shrine "Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre" in Santiago in the morning and later had a meeting with families at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Santiago. After a blessing of the city of Santiago from the square in front of the Cathedral of Santiago, he left with a farewell ceremony from Santiago Airport, en route to Washington, D.C., where he arrived at Joint Base Andrews during the evening of 22 September 2015.

On Wednesday, 23 September, the pope met with President Barack Obama at the White House. It was the third visit by a pope to the White House, following meetings between Jimmy Carter and Pope John Paul II in October 1979 and George W. Bush and Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008.[53]

Also that day, Francis took part in a prayer with bishops from the United States at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, the seat of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington. Later that day, he celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, near the Catholic University of America. During the Mass, he canonized (declared to be a Saint) Blessed Father Junípero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California, and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California.

On Thursday, 24 September, Pope Francis gave an address to a Joint session of the United States Congress, the first Supreme Pontiff to do so. He followed that with a visit to St. Patrick's Church, the oldest parish church in Washington. The church was founded in 1794.[54] He also visited the Washington, D.C. local Catholic Charities office. He then flew from Washington, to New York City. After arriving at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, he took part with New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Evening Vespers (part of the Liturgy of the Hours), at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

On Friday, 25 September, Pope Francis addressed the United Nations General Assembly. It was the fifth address by a Pope to the U.N. General Assembly, following appearances by Pope Paul VI in October 1965, Pope John Paul II in October 1979 and October 1995, and Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008.

Following the address to the U.N., he participated in an ecumenical service at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, at the former World Trade Center site. In the afternoon, he visited a school in East Harlem, then celebrated a Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden.

On Saturday, 26 September, Pope Francis traveled from New York to Philadelphia, where he was welcomed by city and state leaders and Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. He celebrated a Papal Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. He visited Independence Mall in the afternoon, and the Festival of Families of the 2015 World Meeting of Families[55] in the early evening. The Pope's visit concluded on Sunday, 27 September, with a Papal Mass in the afternoon. After a departure ceremony, he departed on a jet for Rome and the Vatican.

In honor of the visit, the Museum of the Bible will sponsor a special exhibition entitled, "Verbum Domini II,"at the Philadelphia Convention Center, adjacent to the World Meeting.[56]

The official schedule of his visit was announced at the end of June.[57]

 Kenya,  Uganda, and  Central African Republic (25 to 30 November 2015)

Pope Francis stated, aboard the papal plane returning from the Philippines, that he hopes to visit Africa late in 2015 and mentioned the Central African Republic and Uganda as likely sites.[58] The Holy See Press Office confirmed in June 2015 that the pope would visit those two countries.[59] The Vatican confirmed in September that Francis' last trip for 2015 would in fact consist of Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. The visit started with Nairobi, Kenya (25–27 November), then arrive in Entebbe, Uganda with visits to Namugongo and Kampala (27–29 November), and will finally end the visit in Bangui, Central African Republic (29–30 November) where he spent 39 hours before flying back to Rome.[60][61] Pope Francis' visit to the Central African Republic, which is in a state of a civil war, made him the first pope to enter an active war zone.[62]

On Wednesday, 25 November, Pope Francis arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi aboard an Alitalia A330 ("Shepherd One") at approximately 4:32 pm EAT, about 30 minutes ahead of schedule, where he was welcomed by members of the Government of Kenya, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta, and a number of Catholic bishops, led by Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi. A band of traditional dancers also performed while the pope arrived.[63] Pope Francis and his entourage then headed to the State House, where he was honored with a 21-gun salute and a guard of honour from the Kenya Army, before holding private talks with President Kenyatta and other government officials. There, he also met with former presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, as well as the Kenyatta family.[64] After the meetings, President Kenyatta and Pope Francis each addressed the nation from the lawn of the State House. During his 11-minute speech, the pope touched on the importance of the youth and the environment, addressing poverty and inequality, reconciliation, and peace.[65][66] After, Pope Francis boarded his popemobile and headed to the Apostolic Nunciature in Westlands, Nairobi, his residence during his visit in Kenya.[67]

The following day, Thursday, 26 November, Pope Francis participated in an interfaith dialogue with local faith leaders at the Apostolic Nunciature, where he apprised the importance of interfaith dialogues as "essential" for preventing radicalization and religious attacks, mentioning the Westgate shopping mall attack in September 2013 and the Garissa University College attack in April 2015 to which the jihadist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for.[68] Later that morning, Pope Francis headed to the University of Nairobi campus, where he celebrated his first papal Mass in Africa with an estimated crowd of 1.4 million people. In his homily, the pope urged Kenyans to support families and inclusive societies and "resist practices which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women and threaten the life of the innocent unborn."[69][70][71] In the afternoon, Pope Francis met with Kenyan priests, seminarians, and devotees at the field of St. Mary's School. In his speech addressing them, the pope stressed the importance of consecrated life that is only achieved by "staying true to the calling" and their commitment to service. He also urged the priests, seminarians, and devotees to continue the act of prayer and to avoid "the sin of indifference and lukewarmness," saying that "indifference makes God vomit."[72][73] After his speech, Pope Francis headed to the United Nations Office at Nairobi, where he delivered a speech addressing the staff on climate change ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, saying that "it would be 'catastrophic' if particular interests prevailed over the common good of people and the planet or if the conference were manipulated by business interests" and urging world leaders at the conference to reach an agreement over the limitations of carbon footprint and environmental degradation.[74][75] He also warned Africans on the effects of ivory trade and conflict resource to Africa's natural environment, linking the illegal trafficking activities to organized crime and terrorism.[76][77]

On Friday, 27 November, Pope Francis visited the residents of the Kangemi slum, where he presided over a Mass celebrated by the residents at their local church.[78] The pope criticized the "new colonialism" of injustice and "urban exclusion" faced by the Kenyan slums, including the lack of infrastructure and basic services such as education, electricity, sewage treatments, drinking water, and healthcare, as well as inadequate housing and the treatment of children to criminal gangs.[79][80] Later that morning, Pope Francis met with the Kenyan youth at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, where he answered some of the youth's testimonies regarding issues faced by the Kenyan youth, including corruption, issues on tribalism, religious fanaticism, and radicalization. He urged the Kenyan youth to avoid the temptation of corruption, saying: "Corruption is something that gets inside of us, it's like sugar. But it ends badly. When we have too much sugar, we end up with diabetes, or our country ends up being diabetic."[81] He also discussed with the Kenyan youth the importance of education and jobs to prevent radicalization and the recruitment of the youth to join militant groups.[82][83] In the afternoon, Pope Francis headed to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to depart Nairobi for Uganda. The pope was sent off by President Kenyatta, First Lady Margaret, Deputy President William Ruto, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro, several other Kenyan government officials, and a number of Catholic leaders. Traditional dancers and the Kenya Defence Forces band performed as the pope departed. Pope Francis and his delegation departed Nairobi at approximately 3:51 pm EAT aboard an Alitalia A330 ("Shepherd One").[84] He arrived at the Entebbe International Airport an hour later, where a military band played the Vatican and the Ugandan national anthems and traditional drummers and dancers were performing while he was welcomed by President Yoweri Museveni, First Lady Janet Museveni, and a number of Catholic bishops.[85] He then headed to the State House for a brief meeting with President Museveni and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit.[86]

On Saturday, 28 November, Pope Francis headed to Namugongo to visit the Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine decicated to the Uganda Martyrs, a group of 45 Christian converts in Buganda who were burned to death in the late 19th century for refusing to renounce their faith under Kabaka Mwanga II.[87][88] President Museveni initially invited the pope to visit Uganda in October 2014, the 50th year anniversary of the canonization of the Uganda Martyrs, but declined due to prior commitments.[89] He then celebrated Mass with an estimated crowd of 1.5 to 2 million people to honor the martyrs. Among the attendees were President Museveni, President Kiir of South Sudan, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as well as descendants of Kabaka Mwanga II.[90][91] During the celebrations, Pope Francis urged the audience to follow the zeal of the Uganda Martyrs in their mission by "taking care of the elderly, the poor, the widowed and the abandoned."[92] In the afternoon, Pope Francis headed to the unused Kampala Airport for a meeting with around 150,000 of the Ugandan youth, where two youths delivered testimonies to the pope regarding the challenges faced by the Ugandan youth, particularly the tribulations of conflict and the spread of HIV to the youth.[93][94] He later visited the House of Charity in Nalukolongo, a home for the poor, sick, and disabled, to meet with them.[95]


 Cuba and  Mexico (12 to 18 February 2016)

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico.

Pope Francis, on 7 June 2014, accepted an invitation to visit Mexico at the behest of the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. In October 2015 it was confirmed by the Vatican spokesman that the pope would travel to Mexico in early 2016. It was also confirmed that Pope Francis would visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.[96][97] On 1 November 2015, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City, confirmed the pope's visit and said the pope would arrive on 12 February 2016.[98] It was confirmed that, besides Mexico City, Pope Francis would also visit the cities of Ecatepec, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, San Cristobal de las Casas, Morelia and Ciudad Juárez.[99]

On 12 February 2016, Pope Francis, and Patriarch Kirill, of the Russian Orthodox Church, met at José Martí International Airport near Havana, Cuba, and signed a thirty-point joint declaration (Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill), prepared in advance, addressing global issues including their hope for re–establishment of full unity.[100][101] The meeting was facilitated by the Cuban leadership who proposed Cuba as a neutral place for the two religious leaders to meet.

 Greece (16 April 2016)

On 5 April 2016 sources reported Pope Francis would visit the Greek island of Lesbos in support of the thousands of refugees who are there awaiting asylum, or who have passed through the island on their way to Europe and beyond. The pope reported that such a visit was under consideration.[102] It was announced not long after that the pope would make a one-day visit to the island on 16 April 2016.[103]

 Armenia (24 to 26 June 2016)

President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia extended an official invitation to Pope Francis to visit Armenia in 2015, which the pontiff readily accepted, expressing his sincere desire to visit the country. No date was given for the visit.[104] It was confirmed in 2015 that the pope would visit Armenia sometime in 2016.[105] The visit was originally believed to take place in April, but in February 2016 was reported to potentially take place in September with corresponding visits to Azerbaijan and Georgia.[106] In March 2016, the Vatican made it clear that a potential visit to Armenia was likely to take place in the latter half of June, though was still in initial planning stages.[107] It was announced in a press bulletin of 9 April 2016 that the pope would visit Armenia from 24 to 26 June after formally accepting the invitations extended to him.

 Poland (27 to 31 July 2016)

Main article: World Youth Day 2016
Pope Francis in silent prayer at Auschwitz.

Pope Francis visited Kraków, Poland, the city where Karol Wojtyła had served as the archbishop, from 27 to 31 July 2016 on the occasion of World Youth Day 2016. Wojtyła was later elected Pope John Paul II, and canonised after his death. The pope took the opportunity to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp where he spent time in silent prayer and visited the cell of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Afterwards, he met with several Holocaust survivors before leaving the camp.

 Georgia and  Azerbaijan (30 September to 2 October 2016)

Pope Francis in Georgia, arriving to the Patriarchy of the Georgian Orthodox Church

It was reported in early 2016 that a potential visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan could take place in September 2016 alongside a possible trip to Armenia. It was later reported that it was still in the initial planning phases and that nothing was set concretely. It was announced in a press bulletin of 9 April 2016 that the pope would visit those countries from 30 September to 2 October after receiving formal invitations from the civic authorities and Ilia II of Georgia.The pontiff’s journey began on Friday in Georgia, where he was met at the airport by Patriarch Ilia II, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church. While in Georgia, Pope Francis reached out to the Georgian church, despite an apparent snub by Orthodox leaders who declined to attend a Mass he held Saturday in a largely empty stadium in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, after they also discouraged followers from attending. The apparent courtship extended to comments on marriage in which he embraced ideas held dear by the Georgian Orthodox Church. Without addressing homosexuality directly, he criticized “ideological colonization”—shorthand for the influence of foreign ideas on traditional values—for contributing to an assault on the institution of marriage. In a visit to Georgia’s predominantly Muslim neighbor Azerbaijan, the pope focused on interreligious dialogue and tolerance, steering clear of direct criticism against the increasingly authoritarian presidency of Ilham Aliyev. Under Mr. Aliyev, Azeri authorities have arrested scores of human-rights workers and members of political opposition groups, and have worked to cut local rights groups off from foreign funding while boosting the president’s power. In an address to the president, the pope emphasized the importance of not “abusing the rights of others who have different ideas and perspectives,” but otherwise praised the leader for efforts to promote civic growth.

 Sweden (31 October to 1 November 2016)

In January 2016, sources reported that Francis would travel in October to Sweden for an ecumenical ceremony marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.[108] It was later made official on 25 January 2016 that in the last week of October 2016 the pope would travel to the country for the commemoration as a one-day visit though later altered to include another day so that the pope could celebrate a Mass with the small Catholic numbers in Sweden.[109]

In Sweden he met the Church of Sweden's archbishop Antje Jackelén.[110]

Upcoming visits


 Brazil (2017)

Before he departed Brazil after W.Y.D. 2013 the pope announced that he would return to Brazil in 2017 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of Aparecida.[111][112] It has been reported the visit could take place sometime in October to commemorate the anniversary itself and may include the canonization of the Martyrs of Natal.

 Portugal (12 to 13 May 2017)

Bishop Antonio Marto announced that on 25 April 2015 the pope confirmed that he would visit Fátima in Portugal to mark the centenary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. It was also made known that the government and Portuguese Episcopal Conference extended invitations to the pope. There is the potential possibility that the pope could also canonize Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three seers of Fatima.[113][114] It has been reported that the visit could take place from 11-14 May (in which the pope would visit Lisbon, Fátima and Braga) and could include the canonization of Bartholomew of Braga; the schedule was debunked when the pope himself stated that at the present time he shall only be there for one day in Fátima only, though a November 2016 report indicated it could be a two-day visit.

 Colombia (2017)

Pope Francis reportedly intends to visit Colombia at the earliest possible chances. It was believed that it would occur during his 2015 Latin America tour, but it was revealed that it would occur at some other point in the future.[115] In January 2016, it was announced a possible date set aside for a potential visit would be sometime in 2017.[116] It was later confirmed in January 2016 that the pope would indeed visit Colombia in 2017.[117] The president has stated the pope's visit shall occur in the first quarter of 2017.[118]

 Indonesia (July/August 2017)

In August 2015, when he received Cardinal Pietro Parolin at his office, Indonesias minister of religious affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin invited Pope Francis to Indonesia to discuss various issues related to peace and inter-faith dialog.[119] In February 2016, an Indonesian official said that Pope Francis will attend the Asian Youth Day in Yogyakarta, organised by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Semarang. The official, Indonesian ambassador to Vatican Antonius Agus Sriyono, said that, "Pope Francis plans to visit Indonesia in July 2017, coinciding with the Asian Youth Day when Indonesia serves as the host."[120] However, the Vatican has not released any official confirmation.

 India and  Bangladesh (2017)

On 2 October 2016, the pope stated that it was almost certain that he would undertake an apostolic visit to both India and Bangladesh sometime in 2017 as part of a tour to Asia.[121]


 Czech Republic (2018)

President Miloš Zeman extended a visit to the pope who accepted to visit for an ecumenical meeting with leaders of the Orthodox Church. The president stated that the visit would occur in 2018.[122]

 France (2018)

The Vatican announced that an official papal visit to France would take place where the pope would travel to Paris and to Lourdes. It was believed it would take place in 2015 but will in fact be placed on hold until 2018.[123][124]

 Romania (2018)

In May 2015, the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis invited the pope to visit the nation, which the pope agreed to do, although a date must be decided upon.[125] The visit shall most likely take place in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the Great Union.[126]

 Ireland (August 2018)

Pope Francis personally chose Ireland to be the next host of the next World Meeting of Families scheduled for 2018, indicating his desire to visit around that time.[127] It was confirmed in May 2016 that the pope mentioned his intention to visit Ireland for the event and reconfirmed on 29 November 2016 during a meeting between the pope and the head of state.[128]


 Panama (2019)

Main article: World Youth Day 2019

Pope Francis is expected to visit Panama on the occasion of World Youth Day 2019 though the exact location for the event was not announced. The venue was announced on 31 July 2016 at the end of the previous event held in Kraków, Poland.

Unscheduled visits


Pope Francis has reportedly accepted an invitation from Tony Tan, the President of Singapore, to visit the country, although no date has been set.[129]


Pope Francis is reported to have accepted to visit Germany soon when he was invited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck. However, in 2017, Germany will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses.[130]


Pope Francis has reportedly accepted an invitation from Moncef Marzouki, the President of Tunisia, to visit that country, although no date has been set.[131]


Pope Francis confirmed to Ukrainian bishops in their ad limina visit that he would go to Ukraine for a papal visit. It was reported that an invitation by President Petro Poroshenko was also conveyed to the pope.[132]


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe invited the pontiff to visit Japan in his visit on 6 June 2013. The pope expressed his willingness to go there.[133] It was reported on 30 July 2016 that the Holy See was considering a potential papal visit to Japan in 2017 while reporting that the government hoped that the pope would be able to visit mid-year to coincide with his potential visit to Indonesia.[134]


King Felipe VI extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit Spain in 2015 upon his visit in June 2014. The pope expressed his desire to visit but it was confirmed in 2015 he would not visit since he did not wish to interfere with elections. It has been hinted the visit could take place in 2016.[135]


Pope Francis reportedly expressed his desire to visit Nigeria according to President Goodluck Jonathan after the pair met in 2013.[136]


Pope Francis stated in November 2014 that he would want to visit Iraq according to Archbishop Bashar Warda but that his staff would not allow it for some time.[137]


The President invited the pope to visit Croatia to which the pope agreed; the visit would occur likely in 2017. There was the possibility that the pope could canonize Blessed Aloysius Stepinac.[138]


President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi invited the pope to visit the nation in November 2014, when the pair met; the pope agreed to the visit. Pope Tawadros II also invited the pope to visit. The official ambassador delivered a formal invitation to the pope in June 2015.[139]


In 2013 President Nicolas Maduro invited the pope to visit the nation to which the pontiff accepted. The pope also intends to beatify José Gregorio Hernández while he visits.[140]


The pope received an invitation in 2015 from seminarians to visit Belarus and the pope said he would attempt to visit at some point during his pontificate.[141]


Sudanese bishops invited the pope in a January 2016 audience to visit their nation at some point to which the pope replied that he would do so during his next visit to the African continent.[142]

 South Sudan

South Sudanese bishops invited the pope to visit during an audience to which the pope said that he would do so when another visit to the continent would be prepared.[142]


Pope Francis was reported to have accepted an invitation from President János Áder to visit Hungary to commemorate Saint Martin in 2016; the date was moved with alterations to the papal schedule.[143][144]


The pope was said to have received an invitation in March 2013 from Sir William Deane (former Governor-General) after his installation as pope and indicated his strong desire to visit Australia.[145]

 Dominican Republic

According to an official statement, the pope received an invitation from Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia to visit; the pope expressed a keen interest in visiting the island nation.[146]


In a 2013 audience with Thailand's Prime Minister, the pope accepted an invitation to visit the nation though no date was given as to when it would take place.[147]

 United Kingdom

It has been reported in February 2016 that the pope has reportedly set aside time in September 2016 for a one-day visit to Scotland to join other leaders in taking a stand against violent extremism. This potential visit is reportedly "under consideration" though is likely to take place.[148]


It was reported on 3 August 2016 that the pope is considering a possible visit to Denmark on 1 November 2016 following his visit to Sweden; it was likewise reported that the Vatican had requested for a formal invitation so that such a visit could indeed take place.[149]


President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca of Malta extended an official invitation to Pope Francis to visit Malta. The Pope did not commit himself, and no date was given for the visit.[150] It was confirmed in 2015 that the pope would visit Malta sometime in 2016 though the visit did not occur due to the pope cancelling most visits for the 2016 Jubilee of Mercy.[151]


On 23 February 2016 during a private audience, the Pope accepted the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit the nation sometime in 2016. The visit was to occur in March though was reported to be undertaken later in the year, however, the Jubilee of Mercy saw the pope cancel most international visits; it will be confirmed sometime in the future.[152]

 United Arab Emirates

In June 2016, the pope received and accepted an invitation to visit the United Arab Emirates and the Holy See sent a letter to the nation's officials confirming a visit would take place at some point in the future.[153]


Pope Francis received an invitation from the Serbian Prime Minister to visit the nation after the Serbian Orthodox Church stated there were no objections to such a visit and the pope was reported to have accepted as soon as was possible.[154]


The pope was issued an invitation from the government of Kosovo to visit and officials in the nation reported that the pope would visit in order "to recognize the reality in the Balkans".[154]


Pope Francis was set to visit his nation and two neighbor countries during the bicentennial of the 1816 Argentine Declaration of Independence but it never took place. The date was also selected to be after the 2015 presidential elections, to avoid interfering with it.[155] It was speculated that the pope would canonize Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero during his visit to Argentina but this was debunked since the canonization took place in October 2016 and the visit moved either to May or June 2016; this too was debunked since President Mauricio Macri said the visit could not be slotted into the pope's agenda and thus could take place in 2017. Pope Francis himself issued a video message to the nation in October 2016 in which he said he could not visit the country in 2017, though it could take place at the earliest in 2018.


The President of Chile extended an invitation to the pope for a possible visit to the nation in 2016, and while it was most probable that the pope would go there in 2016, it was denied and has been determined to take place sometime in the future.[156]


Pope Francis has expressed his intention to visit Uruguay, and the visit was said to have been penciled in for 2016 though never happened. Cardinal Sturla has expressed the pope's wish to visit at some stage.[157]

 Cape Verde

The apostolic nuncio to Cape Verde said to journalists that the pope might visit the nation sometime in 2017 as part of an African tour - the pope himself referred to a visit to Africa though the nuncio was adamant that the visit would occur.[158]


On the "exposition of Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier", the Indian territory of Goa sought to have Pope Francis visit there at some stage in 2014.[159]


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